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Asian openbill storks hatch 85 per cent of eggs this year

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Asian openbill storks forage in Boeung Preak Lapouv protected area earlier this year. BirdLife International Cambodia Programme

Asian openbill storks hatch 85 per cent of eggs this year

BirdLife International Cambodia has reported that eggs in 85 per cent of Asian openbill stork nests in the Boeung Prek Lapouv protected area have successfully hatched in the mating season this year, while the total number of nests in the area was the most seen there in more than 15 years.

The more than 8,000ha nature reserve was established by the government in 2016 in Takeo province.

Birdlife said on July 5 that in the mating season in 2020 hundreds of Asian openbills had foraged in the area and that they had made at least 2,186 nests in 270 freshwater mangrove lagoons.

“With the assistance of BirdLife and the attention and care of environmental rangers on the field team the eggs of the Asian openbills have successfully hatched,” it said.

Boeung Prek Lapouv nature reserve deputy head Lim Vath said that 85 per cent of eggs in the 2,186 nests have successfully hatched, while 15 per cent did not succeed because they had suffered damage due to flooding because the nests were on the lower branches of trees, rainstorms damaged them or people had stolen the eggs.

He added that, on average, there were 5,580 Asian openbill chicks each year and around 10 per cent of those would die from disease and various other factors. Forty per cent of them were forced to leave their nests and habitats due to drought and a lack of water resources or lack of food.

“Currently, 50 per cent of Asian openbill chicks (about 2,790 of them) have stayed in their nests in their current habitat. Some have just hatched, so they cannot fly away from their mothers and fathers. We have also observed that some mothers and fathers have collected small cordwood to repair their nests and make new nests on higher branches,” he said.

Vath continued that with this successful breeding the field team concluded that it was a good sign that Asian openbill storks would not migrate from the area and more nesting activity would occur in the next mating season.

The Ministry of Environment is working with BirdLife Cambodia and the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust Cambodia to carry out the Boeung Prek Lapouv wetland conservation and management project, BirdLife said.

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